Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Star Wars Book Club: The Weapon of a Jedi

Howdy yall. I'd hoped to have something up for you this past weekend but as it turns out I had to start yet another new job. Yes indeed, while still working for a non-profit shelter organization I've gone from Alzheimer home maintenance man, to liquor store clerk, and now a security guard for a condemned factory. Slowly but surely I'm covering every basic horror movie profession though I feel like undersea researcher and space jockey may be just out of reach. On the matter of space jockeys I managed to wrap another Star Wars book. Sure it's doesn't really mesh with all the Halloween stuff I've been pitching but we gotta keep the regular features rolling along.

The Weapon of a Jedi is another young adult novel published under the Journey to the force Awakens banner, the very same product line that us given the best book so far, Lost Stars. Don't expect that level of quality here though. This one serves much the same purpose as the last book we covered, Heir to the Jedi. Much like that tale it's about Luke Skywalker stumbling through an adventure and continuing his education in the force. Only this may have even less of a point.

This one actually takes place after Heir to the Jedi, not that you'd know it. None of the progress Luke made during that tale is on display here and he seemingly has no idea how to utilize the force despite learning some basic telekinesis during that adventure. It doesn't prove to be much of a set-back though as he's fully capable of some Bloodsport level blind fighting during the climax.
This is a potential issue for the entire franchise right now. Granted this new cannon is young with many of the books being in different eras with separate casts so there hasn't been much trouble with repetition, yet here's a story with the same basic goal as another novel with zero references or connections. The whole affair stinks of a total lack of synergy. Granted Heir was originally intended for the old cannon before being reworked which may explain the unnecessary double dip that's going on here.

Logistics out of the way let's get on to the actual story. In yet another odd similarity to Heir, the first third or so of this story is almost completely inconsequential. Luke is sent on a mission for the rebellion, for the life of me I can't recall what this mission was. Things don't go as planed and while escaping from an attack, Luke follows a few hints from the force to land on a dinky jungle planet which just so happens to have the ruins of a Jedi temple on the surface.
The remainder can essentially be knocked out with bullet points, Luke slightly bonds with a teenage girl, meets a suspicious guide, reaches the temple, practices his skills, fights off some baddies, the end. There's never a step in an unexpected direction or a development out of left field. It's rather like having a dull person itemize how they spent their day.

Possibly the biggest misstep is the character of Sarco, a dark and mysterious figure who at first serves as a guide for Luke in his journey towards the old temple. There were infinite options for this guy. Maybe he's an honorable warrior, perhaps even a slight follower of the Jedi path that could impart wisdom to Luke. Perhaps he has a dark past that guides his actions. Instead he turns into a lame proto-vader villain within the last 30 pages because the book suddenly realized it had no bad guy to speak of. I should also point out this guy doesn't even die, he's actually in The Force Awakens where if memory serves, he does nothing worth mentioning. Poor guy joins the club of potentially neat Star Wars characters who accomplish zip. Say hi to IG-88 at the next meeting, ya sad bastard.

That sort of rushed and aimless storytelling continues right to the end. I'd forgotten to mention this whole thing is being told by C-3PO to a young pilot. After the big battle, the droid runs out of time to finish the story properly. The fuck? As an author how do you get off on not finishing a story by pretending your characters don't have the time to discuss it? Just wave and say everything worked out fine, the end.

I'm afraid this one has to go to the very bottom of the pile. It's as much of a seemingly pointless adventure as Heir to the Jedi yet it lacks the character interaction and variety of settings. And even though the writing is more grammatically sound than Aftermath, there's barely enough activity to keep things interesting for the reader. Let's check the standings.
  1. Lost Stars by Claudia Gray
  2. New Dawn by John Jackson Miller
  3. Tarkin by James Luceno
  4. Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne
  5. Aftermath by Chuck Wendig
  6. The Weapon of a Jedi by Jason Fry

It's official now, we've found ourselves in a Star Wars slump. This feature started off swimmingly yet here it is the third lackluster book in a row. I'm not giving up on the goal of sticking with this new cannon and guiding folks through it's various ups and downs (lotta downs lately). We;re gonna hunt down something bigger and better next time, I can feel it.

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